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Unemployment Insurance Claims Sustain Breakneck Rate For Fifth Straight Week

April 23, 2020
4,427,000 people filed unemployment insurance last week. More than 26 million have filed for benefits since the coronavirus outbreak began closing businesses.

The Department of Labor released another set of sobering unemployment insurance claims data April 23. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4,427,000 people filed for unemployment insurance during the week ending with April 18. That’s down 810,000 people compared to the revised figures for the week before, which saw 5,237,000 filings.

Detailed findings about what jobs were lost in the first half of April are expected from the Bureau on May 8. The March jobs report, which came out early in April, only included information on the very beginning of the coronavirus crash. That report showed that manufacturing as a sector lost more than 18,000 jobs in March, although the actual number of lost jobs is suspected to be much higher.

The latest report lends fuel to the fire of some protestors who complain that stay-at-home orders overburden the United States’ social safety net. On April 17, President Trump appeared to tweet his support for the protestors in a few states, specifically Maryland, Michigan, and Minnesota. Some of the protestors also allege that quarantines abridge their freedom.

Government officials and medical professionals have cautioned against loosening the quarantines too soon. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci have both warned that the virus could re-emerge later in the year or earlier if lockdowns are lifted prematurely. Even the President, despite last week’s tweets, has occasionally tempered his eagerness to reopen the economy with caution about a resurgent virus in the latter half of the year.

In Georgia, Governor Brian Kemp announced April 22 he would begin procedures to reopen the state on Friday, April 24. Under his orders, gyms, hair salons and bowling alleys will be allowed to operate. The President unexpectedly condemned the move, calling it “too soon,” but ultimately left the decision up to Kemp. “I disagree with his decision, but he has to do what he thinks is right,” said the President. President Trump’s “Opening Up America Again” plan provides guidelines for governors to ease restrictions in a gradual series of phases.

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